Wednesday, May 25, 2022

2022.05.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 14:21–31

Read 1 Kings 14:21–31

Questions from the Scripture text: Who was king in Judah  (1 Kings 14:21)? At what age? For how long?  Where? Why is this special? Who was his mother (cf. Genesis 4:22)? Where was she from? Who did what (1 Kings 14:22)? In Whose sight? To what did they provoke Him? How much? What did they do, where? What were there in the land ((1 Kings 14:24)? Similar to whom? What had happened to the originals? What happened in the fifth year of Rehoboam ((1 Kings 14:25)? What did Shishak do with the treasuries ((1 Kings 14:26)? What else did he take? With what did Rehoboam replace them ((1 Kings 14:27)? Who oversaw them? When did the guards carry them ((1 Kings 14:28)? What did they do after? What weren’t important enough to make it into this account ((1 Kings 14:29)? What additional footnote does (1 Kings 14:30 add? What two things happen to Rehoboam in (1 Kings 14:31? With whom? But who is mentioned again (cf. (1 Kings 14:21)? Who reigned in his place?

After the folly of Rehoboam in aligning with his “youth group,” and the God-hating of Jeroboam in following his own way of worship, what does the Lord want us to take away from Rehoboam’s reign as a whole?  1 Kings 14:21–31 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the consequences of seemingly small sins (even when appearances are kept up of faithfulness) can snowball into devastation for families, churches, and nations (even when appearances are kept up of prosperity).

Previously, the Lord taught us about some of the things to which He might give us over, if He is bringing curse down upon us (cf. 1 Kings 12:1–24). Now the Lord both reminds us of why He gave Rehoboam over to such folly in the first place, and warns us of how devastating the consequences can be.

The disastrous reign of Rehoboam is a consequence of Solomon’s sin.
By framing in the narrative with “His mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess” in (1 Kings 14:21) and 1 Kings 14:31, the Spirit reminds us what Solomon had done. He had married many foreign women (cf. 1 Kings 11:1), and they turned his heart away from Yahweh (cf. 1 Kings 11:2). Indeed, if David’s son had gone after Milcom (1 Kings 11:5) and Molech (1 Kings 11:7) of the Ammonites, what could be expected of Rehoboam son of Solomon and an Ammonite woman? 

The disaster of Rehoboam’s reign is immense.
God’s delivering the nation/church of Israel for Himself had been a glorious victory over wicked Egypt to bring them out of slavery, and a glorious victory over the wicked Canaanite nations to bring them into their land. But now, the land is so full of idolatry (1 Kings 14:23) and perversity (1 Kings 14:24a) that Judah has become Canaan 2.0 (verse 24b). Being given over to the sins of the world is a devastating judgment upon a professing church or previously believing nation!

And to drive home the judicial/penal nature of this disaster, it is Shishak king of Egypt (1 Kings 14:25) who now empties the treasuries of Yahweh’s house and the king’s house (1 Kings 14:26a) and removes the golden shields (verse 26b). Here were the great successes of Solomon: the building of Yahweh’s house (cf. chapters 6–8), the building of the king’s house and other structures (1 Kings 7:1–11), and the installation of the economic machine that had produced these opulent display shields (1 Kings 10:14–29). Israel had plundered Egypt on their way out (cf. Genesis 15:14; Exodus 3:21–22, Exodus 12:36), and now Egypt has plundered the greatest of Solomon’s achievements in one fell swoop.

Still, Rehoboam tried to keep up appearances of faithfulness and prosperity.
Rather than repenting of all of the false worship and immorality into which he and his father led Israel, Rehoboam made a big display of whenever he “went to Yahweh church” (1 Kings 14:28a). And rather than admitting how humiliating the reversal of the Exodus judgment/plundering had been, he substituted “fool’s bronze” to maintain some appearance of doing well (1 Kings 14:27). Just because we’ve actually come under such judgments as those against which this passage warns doesn’t mean that the church or nation that is under the judgment will recognize it!

So in our passage today, the Lord drives home just how much good, and how long a church or nation’s prosperity, can be undone so quickly by the consequences of not being watchful against sin in marriage choices or worship. Let us who think we stand take heed lest we fall!

What are some ways that believers make similar marriage and worship choices to Solomon’s and Rehoboam’s? Why do churches under judgment sometimes still appear faithful or alive?

Sample prayer:  Lord, how dreadful that even after sinning like Canaanites, Rehoboam could make a display of worship in Your temple. And even after being plundered by Egypt, Rehoboam could make display of ongoing prosperity and strength. Forgive our sin, and do not let our treacherous marriage choices or traitorous worship choices come down upon us or our children. Whenever You bring Your hand of discipline upon us, grant that we would be humiliated and repentant rather than proud and self-deceived, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH180 “Kind and Merciful God, We Have Sinned”

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